Sunday, 11 October 2009

Creating a games matrix

Games Matrix for Role Playing Games – Review

When creating a games matrix, it is vital to ensure that the format and criteria of the matrix match the type of game which is to be reviewed. For example, a first person shooter may choose multiplayer as a section to delve into when picking the criteria, whereas a racing game would pick a category such as pace and speed to review.

For creating a game matrix for role playing games, six vital areas which need to be reviewed upon are the story, game play, visual quality, longevity, sounds and ambience within the game and difficulty. Furthermore, when the categories and criteria have been set, a way of scoring these categories based on criteria must be devised. For my games matrix, I have decided upon a scoring system going from 1 through to 5. Then, by looking at the criteria set for each section, it is possible for the user to determine what score the game deserves based on the features of the game in comparison to the criteria I developed.

I will now describe why I chose each category for the games matrix, so as to give an understanding on how each category was chosen as the main grading criteria.


When playing a role playing game, the story is possibly one of the most important factors on how well the game plays out and how well it sells in today’s market. The very idea behind a role playing game is to play a character to complete quests and decide the fate of the world in which the game is based. A good story can generally tell you how good a game is going to be, so in my opinion this was the most vital category required for the matrix.

In addition, the quality of quests within the game is also vital, as the player should generally have multiple different ways in which they can play the game, for example taking small quests to pass time, or longer main storyline quests to complete the game.

Game Play

The game play of a role playing game is also important when rating a role playing game. Most role playing games have a strong direction within the way the story is told, so the user has to be kept entertained in some way rather than spending most of their time watching small movie snippets. The combat systems and freedom to move around are the two most important game play aspects for this game genre, so I have based my criteria on those two points.

Furthermore, the game play of a good role playing game can set the rules for a sequel to the game; this is highly advantageous to the developers as they know how well the game mechanics worked purely from the success rate of the first game commissioning a second. Furthermore, this can help users who are previously experienced with the game mechanics jump straight into the game with minimal hassle, bar new features.

Visual Quality

As technology progresses in the gaming world, there is really little excuse for game developers to leave out vital visual effects within a game. For a role playing game, the scene, atmosphere and mood can make or break a game. Poor quality graphical effects can leave a lasting impression on someone new to the game, so much so they may decide to put the game down and find something new.

For these reasons, I decided that the visual quality of a game would be a vital area to be tested and reviewed within my game matrix to ensure that the player is kept entertained and happy with the way the game looks on their screen. With HD ready devices and consoles becoming more and more popular now, the graphical aspects and details of a newly developed game must have higher standards than games released previously on older consoles.


As the market for games and the amount of games being produced is climbing higher and higher, so is the price. However, games released as of the past three years have shorter game play time than those of their predecessors, causing people who play games to become unhappy with the price vs. lifetime of a game. The longevity of a game is becoming more and more important.

Whilst it is still important to ensure that a game does not drag on for too long, the replay ability factor of the game must be addressed seriously and with a cautious approach. Failure to do this effectively can result in a game not living up to expectations post release and a poor quality game in the long term. It is because of this I have decided to include longevity as a key factor in my game matrix, with clear and concise instruction as to how the criterion works.
Sounds and Ambience

Another important aspect of evaluating a role playing game under the guidance of a games matrix is the sounds and ambience which the game delivers. Choosing the right music for the right moment, scene, video clip and other parts of a game is important for the overall feel of the game. Furthermore, the quality of music delivered and the way in which it intertwines with the game should feel natural and as part of the game itself, delivering a rewarding feeling when a major part of a game has just been completed, or providing the right dramatic effect for a cut scene.
In addition to this, the right sound must be played when a user interacts with something within the game, for example the way in which two swords clash must sound like two swords clashing, rather than something of inferior quality such as two pieces of thin metal touching.


Many role playing games have often fallen down a general trend of making a game either too easy to progress or complete, or too much of a grind, or time spent equals progress made, to adversely affect the overall enjoyment of the game. To combat this, the game should be well balanced and the player should feel like they are progressing for every moment spent on the game, be it travel time or levelling up a character.

The criteria I have designed for this gives clear direction as to how a game should feel if the difficulty has been developed correctly and in a controlled manner, meaning the user should be able to give constructive feedback based on the matrix I have created.

In conclusion, I feel the games matrix I have created will offer real insight as to how a game plays out, with enough detail for the user to be able to make an easy decision and score based on the criteria given. Furthermore, anyone who reads the completed matrix will be able to see where the advantages of the game are, as well as the drawbacks, and for someone interested in buying the game, this can give them a clear idea as to whether they should buy the game or leave it on the shelf in favour of something else.

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